Australia’s Open drought

John Coomer Roar Guru

By John Coomer, John Coomer is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

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    The Australian Open starts next week and there’s been a drought of 39 years since an Australian lifted a singles title at the event.

    Chris O’Neill won the women’s singles way back in 1977.

    It’s been an even longer drought in the men’s singles.

    Mark Edmondson was our last male winner in 1976.

    Since then, we’ve had six singles finalists – five in the men’s and one in the women’s events – but none have managed to lift the trophy.

    But still, it’s a tournament where Australia has a proud history of success.

    Over the years, 27 Australian men have won the singles title, including 12 who won it on multiple occasions, being Roy Emerson (6 times), Jack Crawford (4), Ken Rosewall (4), James Anderson (3), Rod Laver (3), Adrian Quist (3), John Bromwich (2), Ashley Cooper (2), Rodney Heath (2), John Newcombe (2), Frank Sedgman (2) and Pat O’Hara Wood (2).

    In the women’s, 15 Australians have won the singles title, including nine that have won it more than once – being Margaret Court (11 times), Nancye Bolton (6), Daphne Cozens (5), Evonne Goolagong Cawley (4), Joan Bathurst (3), Coral Buttsworth (2), Thelma Long (2), Margaret Molesworth (2) and Mary Reitano (2).

    Part of the reason for Australia’s lack of recent success is the fact that tennis is now a far more international game than it was in Australia’s glory years.

    There are more great players from more countries around the world than there has ever been, and all of them now travel to play in the Australian Open. That wasn’t always the case when international travel wasn’t as easy as it is today.

    Other factors for our lack of recent success are the drastic reduction in the number of tennis court facilities in Australia over the years, as well as the rise in popularity of other sports for Australian kids to play instead of tennis as they are growing up.

    In this year’s event, the defending men’s singles champion is Serbia’s Novak Djokovic. Although he’s already won the Australian Open title an incredible six times, he should still be highly motivated to win again in 2017 after losing his number one world ranking to Scotland’s Andy Murray late last year.

    Djokovic and Murray are currently equal favourites with the bookmakers at $2.63. Then after a big gap, there’s Switzerland’s 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka at $13. Spain’s 2009 Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal is also at $13.

    Of the top-ranked Australians, Nick Kyrgios is at $34 and Bernard Tomic $101.

    Nick Kyrgios celebrates

    Krygios’ best result at the Australian Open so far has been reaching the quarter-finals in 2015, while Tomic reached the fourth round in 2012, 2015 and 2016.

    In the women’s singles, newly crowned world number one Angelique Kerber (Germany) is the defending champion. Last year’s epic Australian Open final with American Serena Williams was her breakthrough event.

    Williams is chasing her 23rd grand slam singles title, trying to go past the great German Steffi Graf into outright second on the all-time women’s singles list. Australia’s Margaret Court holds the record with 24 career singles titles.

    Having won the Australian Open six times in her career, Williams is currently the favourite with the bookmakers at $3.50, followed by Kerber at $4.33. There is then a significant gap to Romania’s Simona Halep at $9.

    Of the highest ranked Australian players, Daria Gavrilova is at $126 and Sam Stosur at $151.

    Gavrilova hasn’t progressed past the first round in her only two Australian Open appearances so far, while Stosur’s best efforts were reaching the fourth round in both 2006 and 2010.

    Who are your tips for the Australian Open men’s and women’s singles titles in 2017?

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    The Crowd Says (12)

    • January 10th 2017 @ 7:22am
      Ray said | January 10th 2017 @ 7:22am | ! Report

      I’d be happy for the drought to continue rather than see Kyrgios win it and have his name among those great champions of the past.

      • January 10th 2017 @ 8:52am
        Mick_Lions said | January 10th 2017 @ 8:52am | ! Report

        I do need to ask: Why so much hate for Kyrgios?
        True, he can act like a petulant child but I’m 43 yrs old and I do too.
        It’s just the fact I’m not broadcast internationally and suck at tennis that seperates us.
        John Macenroe was dubbed The Brat for his dummy spits and people flocked to watch him win titles, yet this poor 20 year old is the subject of constant local ridicule from a public that could never do what he does.
        Much like Shane Warne, I love watching him play and dont give a rats arse about what comes out of his mouth. In fact if I did then I would have to disown all my friends based on double standards as they talk far more shit than this bloke.
        I hope he does well as I am a patriot and would love to watch a local break a 40 year drought.
        Go Nick!

        • January 10th 2017 @ 10:12am
          Ray said | January 10th 2017 @ 10:12am | ! Report

          I can understand your patriotism. I didn’t like the way McEnroe carried on either but I could sort of understand it was motivated by his intense competitiveness and will to win. You can’t always say that about Kyrgios and his antics or the effort he sometimes puts in on court.
          That’s why I’d prefer another Aussie to break the drought, even if it takes a bit longer.

    • January 10th 2017 @ 4:09pm
      Torchbearer said | January 10th 2017 @ 4:09pm | ! Report

      I could be wrong, but Gavrilova made the 4th Round last year , and according to wiki the 2nd round in 2013.

      • Roar Guru

        January 10th 2017 @ 5:13pm
        John Coomer said | January 10th 2017 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

        Yep, you’re right. She had a great singles run at the Australian Open last year. I got her singles and doubles results at the Aus Open mixed up. Sorry about that.

    • January 10th 2017 @ 4:16pm
      Republican said | January 10th 2017 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

      Australias Open drought?
      This should read ‘Australia’s Tennis drought’.
      We arena longer a Tennis power and have not been now for decades.
      Our sporting pedigree internationally is incredibly mediocre but does this really matter?

      • Roar Guru

        January 10th 2017 @ 6:09pm
        John Coomer said | January 10th 2017 @ 6:09pm | ! Report

        I know we’re not a tennis power but the Australian Open is the only grand slam where we haven’t won the singles in the last 20 years, so the 39 year drought stands out from that perspective, especially given its our home tournament.
        The fact that we’ve won all the other grand slam singles events in the last 20 years isn’t a bad record in my opinion in what is a tough international sport.
        I wouldn’t agree that our sporting pedigree internationally is mediocre. For example, we have the world’s number one golfer, a decent Formula 1 driver, and we go well in most of our team sports that have international competitions.

        • January 11th 2017 @ 10:43am
          Torchbearer said | January 11th 2017 @ 10:43am | ! Report

          No Australian man has won the French Open Singles since 1969 (Laver) 47 years…women its 1973 (Court) 44 years…???

          • Roar Guru

            January 11th 2017 @ 11:03am
            John Coomer said | January 11th 2017 @ 11:03am | ! Report

            Yep, you’re right again Torchbearer. Stosur came close in 2010 but didn’t quite get there.

    • January 11th 2017 @ 9:22pm
      Mark said | January 11th 2017 @ 9:22pm | ! Report

      Chris O’Neil (only one ‘l’ not two) won the 1978 Australian Open (actually in the first few days of 1979), just on 38 years ago, not in 1977 as you state.

      • Roar Guru

        January 12th 2017 @ 8:41am
        John Coomer said | January 12th 2017 @ 8:41am | ! Report

        Yep, you’re right. Thanks for that.

    • January 17th 2017 @ 8:09am
      BrainsTrust said | January 17th 2017 @ 8:09am | ! Report

      Wasn’t Hewitt blaming the surface at the Australian Open for his lack of success there.
      If your talking about Australia’s worst major it has to be the French in the mens by a mile.
      Is Rafters semi final appearance the only one for the last 30 or so years.
      Maybe the Australia decline in tennis happened because of the family car meant people could travel further whereas before you had to seek amusement close by.

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